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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Govt mulls door-to-door survey to verify property tax details

Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, December 17, 2013
First Published: 00:06 IST(17/12/2013) | Last Updated: 00:09 IST(17/12/2013)

 If you are paying your property tax in Punjab, pay it carefully giving correct details as you may face hefty penalty for hiding any information about your properties, as the Akali-BJP Punjab government was mulling a door-to-door survey to find out the actual details of the properties of every individual residing in urban areas of the state.
The survey may be undertaken after March 31, 2014, the last date of filing property tax returns and paying tax with 25% penalty, if the government fails to achieve the set target of accumulating Rs 1,000 crore from the tax imposed recently to garner funds for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission . 

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"Since the people of the state are not showing keen interest in filing their property tax returns, especially on commercial properties,  the government was planning a door-to-door survey to assess the actual tax collection of every household," disclosed a senior official in the Punjab government on the condition of anonymity.
"Also it (the survey) becomes mandatory as the self-assessment of property tax always remains doubtful and people were not giving actual measurement of their constructed properties", he added.
Asked about the timing of the survey as it may raise several eyebrows as the Lok Sabha polls are near, he said, "I don't think that it is a political decision. But the government will have to take a firm stand to meet the target and get actual details of the properties of the people."
Once the date of paying property tax was over, the date of the survey will be announced, he said, adding, "the government may impose heavy penalties on the erring tax payers if the details of their properties were not found correct."
Talking to Hindustan Times, tax consultant and advocate Kamal Anand said, "In the self-assessment , people may evade tax on their properties, as some do not give actual details of their constructed floors for which they have not taken approval.  But, I think, filing property tax return was the best way for them to get their properties approved."
"As the government has not announced any proper mechanism to assess the property tax which varies from floor to floor, people hesitate to give actual details of their properties to evade taxes", said an official of the municipal committee.
The government was planning to mop up nearly Rs. 1,000. The zoning in the towns and cities has been done on the prevailing collector rates to calculate the tax. But the people in small cities and towns are complaining that the collector rates decided by the government are much higher than the market value. 
This is becoming the biggest hurdle for the government to collect the actual tax from the people, who are trying to find out ways to evade the tax.

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